Nurse frustrated with county’s vaccine distribution process

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department continues its efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible, as soon as possible. However, some healthcare workers feel there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done to reach that goal.

One nurse spoke with WREG-TV and explained she’s frustrated with the process. She said volunteered to distribute vaccines on Saturday and says while the lines were shorter, she still doesn’t feel it was very efficient.

“We had all these vaccines ready to go but no one to give them to,” the nurse said.

The nurse, who asked to remain anonymous, says she’s frustrated with the Shelby County Health Department’s vaccine distribution process.

For the past week, WREG-TV has reported extreme wait times at vaccination sites. Seeing the need for more manpower, the nurse we spoke to says she along with 20 other medical workers volunteered to give shots at the Pipkin Building on Saturday.

The nurse says for those waiting to receive a vaccine, the process may have appeared faster and the lines shorter, but for those distributing the vaccine, she says they felt useless.

“The numbers definitely didn’t add up. We literally were standing there with vaccines in hand just waiting for cars to show up,” the nurse said.

The nurse says Saturday she vaccinated only about 10 people over a three-hour time frame.She says the majority of the time, she and other volunteers just sat around waiting to work.

“The Shelby County Health Department absolutely did not utilize the volunteers and our expertise,” the nurse said.

The health department has been vocal about its desire to shorten wait times. A spokeswoman for the department says several appointments were rescheduled to monday to prevent extended wait times.

She says “Pipkin staff gave a total of 1,247 vaccinations, so staff and volunteers were quite busy vaccinating at a steady, but manageable pace.”

However, this nurse says the volunteers believe they could’ve fit more people into the schedule saturday.

“A lot of the volunteers left because we were useless,” the nurse said.

The nurse says she hopes communication, not only among those getting the vaccine, but those giving it as well, will improve.

“I mean I have tons of friends in the healthcare field and they want to help. They just don’t know where to go to help,” the nurse said.

The health department said if you would like to become a volunteer, you can sign up online by click here. Additionally, medical credentials are verified before they are added to the volunteer database, then as volunteer opportunities open up, all registered volunteers are notified via mass alert of the event details.

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